from the but-does-it-still-taste-fresh dept.
"A group at the Institut de Microbiologie de la Mediterranee, Aix Marseille Universite, revived a "giant" virus that had been embedded in permafrost for approximately 30,000 years. The virus was found in the tundra near East Siberia and is thus named Pithovirus sibericum. It is the latest entry in the class of large viruses called Megaviridae, which are so large that they are visible under an ordinary optical microscope:
P. sibericum is, on the scale of viruses, a giant - it has 500 genes, whereas the influenza virus has only eight.
This particular virus is harmless to humans and animals, but it demonstrates there could be unknown health repercussions as more permafrost thaws as the result of a warming planet."
The Guardian reports that the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a seed bank near Longyearbyen on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, has flooded due to "melting and heavy rain." The seeds remain safe, according to the article.
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30,000-Year-Old Giant Virus 'Comes Back to Life'
An Isolated Vault Could Store Our Data on DNA for 2 Million Years .
Giant Crater in Russia's Far North Sparks Mystery
30,000 Year Old Virus Revived